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Film Acquisition Rundown: The Orchard Picks Up ‘Thelma,’ Samuel Goldwyn Films Buys ‘Gook’ and More

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe.



The Orchard

Keep up with the wild and wooly world of indie film acquisitions with our weekly Rundown of everything that’s been picked up around the globe. Check out last week’s Rundown here.

– The Orchard has acquired the North American rights to Joachim Trier’s supernatural thriller “Thelma.” Written by Trier and Eskil Vogt and starring Eili Harboe, Okay Kaya, Ellen Dorrit Petersen and Henrik Rafaelsen, the film follows a young woman who falls in love and discovers that she has terrifying and inexplicable powers.

“Working with Joachim on ‘Louder Than Bombs’ was a wonderful experience and gave us the opportunity to witness, up close, his unmatched visionary talent and passion for the stories he tells,” Paul Davidson, the Orchard’s executive vice president of Film and Television, said in a statement. “Thelma represents the next evolution of his growth as a filmmaker and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of that journey.”

– Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired the North American rights to the 2017 Sundance audience award winner, “Gook.” Written and directed by Justin Chon, who played Eric in the “Twilight” franchise and also acted in “Gook,” the film follows two Korean-American brothers that run their late father’s shoe store in a predominantly African American community of Los Angeles.

“We were truly impressed by the incredible vision Justin projected as well as the caliber of the actor’s performances in creating such an authentic kinship between two brothers and Kamilla,” Peter Goldwyn, president of Samuel Goldwyn Films, said in a statement. “The core ethos of our company is to offer original voices and uniquely told stories the opportunity to reach a broad audience and we could not be more proud to bring such a relevant film from an emerging filmmaker into the marketplace.”



Samuel Goldwyn Films

– Gravitas Ventures has acquired the North American theatrical and streaming rights to The Reagan Show, while CNN Films has acquired the North American broadcast rights. The film is set to premiere in the Documentary Competition at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday, April 22, and will arrive in theaters on June 30, including at New York’s Metrograph Theater, with a VOD and Home Video release on July 4.

Co-directed by Sierra Pettengill and Pacho Velez, “The Reagan Show” reveals Ronald Reagan’s Hollywood-powered, public image savvy entirely through archival video and film footage. The film portrays just how the 40th president completely redefined the look and feel of what it meant to be the President of the United States in the late 20th Century.

– Lionsgate has acquired the rights to the thriller “Smart House,” which will be released by the company’s Summit Entertainment label. Based on an original idea by James Wan, who will also produce the movie under his Atomic Monster company banner, the film is being written by screenwriter Brad Keene and will be directed by Alexandre Aja.

In a world of smart phones and smart cars, “Smart House” is a thriller about a family in the witness protection program placed in the custody of a state of the art, autonomous “smart house.” When a group of assassins locates the family, the smart house goes into a lethal defense mode.

– Monument Releasing has acquired the North American distribution rights to Mark Webber’s “Flesh and Blood.” The company will release the film theatrically in the Fall of 2017. “Flesh and Blood,” which had its world premiere at SXSW 2017, tells the story of Mark, a man returning home from prison to live with his mother and teenage brother in the inner city of Philadelphia. Attempts to rebuild his life become frustrated by struggles with sobriety, a strained relationship with his activist mother, the neglect of a teenage brother with Asperger’s and a rehashed cycle of abandonment by addict fathers.

“Flesh and Blood:

Christopher Boyd

Written, directed, and starring Mark Webber, “Flesh and Blood” explores family dynamics using Webber’s real family as the cast and real-life situations for the story to create a film that authentically blurs the line between narrative and documentary. The film also stars activist Cheri Honkala – Webber’s real-life mother – and Madeline Brewer.

– Grasshopper Film has acquired thee U.S. distribution rights to the complete filmography of legendary husband-and-wife filmmaking duo Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet. Encompassing nearly 50 films – including films that have been unavailable for decades, and many that have never before been released in the U.S. – this acquisition marks the first proper distribution of the entire collection. Some of their most acclaimed works include: “Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach” (1967), “Moses and Aaron” (1974), “Sicilia!” (1998), “A Visit to the Louvre” (2004), “These Encounters of Theirs” (2005), “The Death of Empedocles” (1982), “Antigone” (1991), “Machorka-Muff” (1962) and “Class Relations” (1983).

“I discovered my first Straub-Huillet film many years ago and immediately felt compelled to seek out all the others – though quickly realized it was an impossible task,” Grasshopper Film president and CEO Ryan Krivoshey said in a statement. “There are few filmmakers whose entire body of work is as thrilling and innovative and daring, whose output spans more than 50 years, whose first films are as groundbreaking as the last.” The films will be released on home video and VOD platforms, as well as made available for public screenings, beginning this summer as part of a multi-year project.

– IFC Midnight has acquired the North American rights to Trent Haaga’s “68 Kill,” which won the audience award this year’s SXSW Midnighters section, Deadline reports. The thriller stars Matthew Gray Gubler, Annalynne McCord, Sheila Vand, Alisha Boe, Sam Eidson and Lucy Faust. Based on Bryan Smith’s novel, the film follows a boyfriend-girlfriend duo who decide to rob a sugar daddy and quickly find themselves with a huge mess to clean up in less than 24 hours.

“68 Kill is an insane and sadistic romantic comedy with a twisted heart from the genius who is Trent Haaga,” Arianna Bocco, EVP of acquisitions and productions at IFC Films/Sundance Selects, said in a statement. “It’s the perfect fit for IFC Midnight and we look forward to team with Trent, Travis Stevens and Bob Portal to bring this thrill ride experience to audiences in the U.S.” The film will have a day-and-date theatrical release in August.

– Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired the North American rights to the drama “Do You Take This Man,” starring Anthony Rapp, Jonathan Bennett, Alyson Hannigan, Thomas Dekker and Mackenzie Astin. The film focuses on an intimate group of friends and family as they gather at the home of two gay men to celebrate their nuptials. When the wedding hits a snag, this group helps the grooms to see that all marriages have their challenges, and love is just the beginning.

“Do You Take This Man”

Breaking Glass Pictures

“Do You Take This Man” is written and directed by Joshua Tunick, whose earlier documentaries include “Naked Pavement,” “Scars Don’t Sweat,” and “Mr. Smithereen Goes to Washington.” “Do You Take This Man” held its U.S. premiere at Outfest. Breaking Glass is planning a July limited theatrical release followed by a VOD/DVD release.

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